Lyon gives Ibbotson tall order
Lyon gives Ibbotson tall order

Fremantle coach Ross Lyon is about to hand Garrick Ibbotson a tall task - the job of taking one of West Coast's tall forwards in Saturday's western derby.

With Luke McPharlin ruled out again the Dockers have two issues heading into the derby - a lack of tall defenders and concerns over the fitness of ruckman Zac Clarke, who has a sore knee.

Lyon said 186cm defender Ibbotson was likely to get a big job on a tall forward.

"He has done that, he can play that role," Lyon said.

"They go from four to three (tall forwards) depending on who is on the ground and who is on the bench but we lost a couple of tall defenders last time. Dawson went off and McPharlin went down.

"Mayne went back, Zac Clarke went back so he can just go off ball with their rucks so we feel we have got a few options but it is certainly a challenge. They are very powerful down there."

Lyon was hopeful that Clarke would recover but added: "He has got a bit of a sore knee. He has got to jump a few hurdles to play."

Clarke missed training on Tuesday. Yesterday he did some agility work under the eye of strength and conditioning coach Jason Weber before heading inside to have his right knee strapped before re-emerging for more running.

If West Coast's midfield is likely to be stretched to cope with Fremantle's bigger, stronger bodies, the Dockers could get stretched in defence with Dean Cox likely to be named in the Eagles team today, adding height to an attack that already boasts Jack Darling, Josh Kennedy and newcomer Jeremy McGovern.

"At the end of the day if they are not catching it, it gets to ground," Lyon said.

"What will we be aiming to do? Make sure they don't catch it and try to get off them. What will they be trying to do? Expose our lack of height there a little bit.

"There is not a defence in the world that can defend when the ball just goes cleanly through the midfield with no pressure on and hits them lace out. Our aim will be to put pressure on as always and, because we have done it over a long period of time clearly we have some confidence we can do it, but we need to bring that to life again in the heat of the battle against a fierce opposition."

Matt de Boer should be available but may play WAFL after missing almost six weeks because of a knee injury suffered at training.

Lyon again put Anthony Morabito firmly in contention for selection but gave no guarantees.

"There would be no one who would want to pick Anthony more than me beyond Anthony and his parents I would imagine - and his manager," he said.

"If I think Anthony will give us the best opportunity to help win the game he will play. If there are others that will do that they will play. It is unemotional for me."

The West Australian

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